USC Sand Volleyball Tabbed Third in First-Ever DiG Magazine Poll

    USC sand volleyball sophomore Kelly Claes

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    Jan. 22, 2015

    SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The USC sand volleyball team was picked third in the first-ever DiG Magazine Collegiate Sand Volleyball Preseason Poll on Tuesday, Jan. 20. The Women of Troy followed only 2014 defending AVCA champion Pepperdine and Florida State; ranked Nos. 1 and 2 respectively.

    The magazine's poll places the top 20 teams and is conducted among its own staff, which consults with collegiate sand coaches. DiG currently has plans to release a poll bi-weekly throughout the collegiate sand volleyball season, which begins for the Trojans on Thursday (March 12) when USC hosts TCU at Merle Norman Stadium for a 5 p.m. PT match.

    USC's sand volleyball program started in 2012 under head coach Anna Collier, and finished third nationally in 2013 and 2014. The past two national champion pairs teams came from USC, including Kirby Burnham and Stevi Robinson in 2013 and Burnham and Sara Hughes in 2014. The trio of players also represent four AVCA All-America honors for the program including back-to-back honors for Burnham.

    Pepperdine has won two national championships in the sport's first three seasons under head coach Nina Matthies, and returns four All-Americans from last year's title-winning squad. In addition to USC, vying to dethrone the Waves will be a deep field of contenders. No. 4 Hawai'i, and No. 5 Loyola Marymount round out the top five. Long Beach State, the 2013 champion, is ranked No. 6. The rest of the top 10 includes Saint Mary's College, UCLA, Florida International, and Pacific.

    In the back half of the top 20 are Georgia State, Stanford, Stetson, North Florida, and Tulane from 11-15, and then Arizona at No. 16 followed by Nebraska, Santa Clara, Grand Canyon, and Louisiana Monroe. Other teams receiving votes included Alabama-Birmingham, Arizona State, California, Bakersfield, and South Carolina.

    Most schools will begin regular-season play in early March, with the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Champion- ships to be held May 1-3 in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The NCAA recently voted to make sand volleyball its 90th championship, which will begin in 2016.

    For more information on the USC sand volleyball team and a complete schedule, please visit and follow @USCSandVBall on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.